I’ll be honest, most national awareness days seem to come and then go by with me. If I hear about them beforehand, I try to remember, but it’s not very often that I ever actually do.
However, today is a bit different.
Today, (July 12th 2019) is National Simplicity Day.
This day of national awareness is an opportunity to step away from the unnecessary stresses we confront in everyday modern life. It’s a chance to re-evaluate what’s really important and identify that what makes us feel truly satisfied.
But it goes deeper than that.
It’s an opportunity to combat that feeling of being overwhelmed by seemingly endless screen time and relentless social media usage.
It serves as a reminder of why collecting and accumulating loads of ‘stuff’ complicates the organisation within our lives, and can make our living spaces feel hectic and unnecessarily saturated.
It’s a chance to reflect on those things in life that perpetuate those everyday stresses and lulls.
And it’s a damn good excuse to spend a bit of time doing the things we enjoy creatively in and outdoors.
But before we get into the how…
…Why did National Simplicity Day come about in the first place?
Deliberately, the day falls on the birthday of influential writer, philosopher, naturalist, environmentalist, abolitionist, historian, poet, infamous pond-side dweller, neck-beard sporter, and all-round simplicity advocate: Henry David Thoreau.
Thoreau’s solution to living simply was simply (see what I did there?) getting away from the distractions of everyday life.
Being such an enthusiast for nature he often found the much needed space he was looking for away from major civilisation. At one point in his life, he felt so strongly about getting away that he left society behind for two whole years.
And while I’m sure many of us can admire Thoreau’s attitude and dedication towards appreciating and pursuing the simple things in life, perhaps you don’t have two years to get away and find that simple life like he did.
Not to panic, National Simplicity Day has got you covered.
So, here’s what your National Simplicity Day could look like:
Identify what’s important to you. The people you love. The things that make you happiest. The goals that you’re working towards. Think about them, and then process that. Reminding yourself of those can do your motivation and your productivity wonders.
Take a break from technology for the day. Screen time obviously comes in more forms than just this: but try taking the day off from social media. Resist that urge to habitually check your news feed. Instead, why not use that time to sit back with that book on the shelf you’ve been meaning to read?
Put a ban on impulsive buying. This one is more about being purposeful in your actions. Think about if you really need the ‘thing’ you’re thinking about buying. (Of course, if you need to buy toilet roll, I’m not advocating going without that). If you still really want the ‘thing’, you’ll remember to go and buy it tomorrow.
Declutter and get rid of the unnecessary stuff that’s clogging up your living space. We’ve all got that room, that desk, that drawer, maybe even that car boot that we’ve been meaning to get around to clearing out. Here’s your reminder to go do that. Even clearing out just a small space can make a massive difference.
Reconsider those day to day activities that you don’t need to do. Think about those activities that are drain on your energy – both mentally and physically. Take a step back, get some perspective, and then recalibrate, reprioritise and reorganise those parts of your life. Give attention to the parts that are going to keep you moving you forward in the right direction.
Oh, and maybe consider resisting the lure of the coffee shop today. Unless you really need the caffeine. [For more information on this, please see the earlier point made about impulsive buying.]
Practice saying “no”. Sometimes saying “yes” is what complicates our lives and adds to how stressed we feel. Let National Simplicity Day be a reminder that your time matters, and is just as valuable as anyone else’s. Sometimes, saying “no” is the right thing for you.
Spend some time outside. Without a doubt, Thoreau would be onboard with this one. Go for a walk. Get some air. Enjoy nature. Enjoy the views, and enjoy the sounds. Maybe even take your camera and see what awesome shots you can take.
On this note, the one thing I feel I have some responsibility in saying is: even although it’s July, this is the UK we’re talking about here. Take a waterproof just in case.
Of course, in a perfect world we would do all of these things every day.
I’d love to put my hand on my heart and honestly say I do them all without fail.
But life doesn’t run smoothly and simply every day. Sometimes we do just need to slow down and take a day that encourages us in the right direction and keeps us on track.
And you know what?
That’s absolutely fine.
Let me just finish on a massive thank you for reading this #Write52 post. It has been awesome to have you here.
As well as that, Ed has been working to compile all of the #Write52 posts each week in a handy email newsletter – which you can sign up to here. Be sure to do that, and you won’t miss a trick.